At one time, nutmeg was one of the most valued spices. In England several hundred years ago, a few nutmegs could be sold for enough money to provide financial independence for life. It was believed the spice could ward off the plague in Elizabethan times.
Nutmeg has been used medicinally for centuries and is still used as a sedative today. It has been used to treat digestive problems and as an aphrodisiac.
In small dosages nutmeg can reduce flatulence, aid digestion, improve the appetite and treat diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Nutmeg’s flavour and fragrance come from oil of myristica, containing myristicin, a poisonous narcotic.
Nutmeg in large doses, may cause harm. The organic compound Myristicin can induce convulsions, palpitations, nausea, eventual dehydration and body pain. Very rarely it has also been fatal.
In an article great for 'scintillating chitchat at cocktail parties or around the office' by Cyriaque Lamar 7 Common Foods That Can Actually Get You High the author explains that eating 4-8 teaspoons of nutmeg causes mild hallucinations ~ a 'high' which some have compared to a "hellish case of the flu."
Whole nuts are preferable to ground nutmeg, as the flavor deteriorates quickly. 1 whole grated nutmeg equals 2 -3 teaspoons of ground nutmeg. Whole nuts will keep indefinitely and can be grated as needed with a nutmeg grater. Store both whole and ground nutmeg away from sunlight and in airtight containers.